Harpoon Dark | Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall

very good
368 Reviews
Harpoon DarkHarpoon Dark

Brewed by:
Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
Massachusetts, United States

Style: Munich Dunkel Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
A blend of specialty malts gives this beer a velvety mouthfeel with roasted notes and a hint of chocolate, balanced by a subtle hop aroma. Hard to describe but easy to drink, Harpoon Dark is rich in character and light on the palate.

35 IBU

Added by BeerAdvocate on 09-24-2000

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Reviews: 368 | Ratings: 694
Photo of AtLagerHeads
3.61/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A very beautiful appearance, but not the delicious beer I had hoped for. The body is a very dark bronze or mahogany, clear with a generous tan head that is very retentive and laces with real gusto. The aroma is mild and is mostly of a very neutral nature with, perhaps, malting being the primary attribute.

The flavor surprised me as I expected a very deep flavor, but found mostly a light, somewhat medicinal sense. This very much translated into the aftertaste which is way too lingering and leaves an even longer medicine sense. Ugh. There is a castor note that I find very unpleasant.

The body is light to medium, with a nice creamy feel, and finishes with a bit of crispness, but is not as dry as desired. Much less drinkable at the end than it began.

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Photo of WanderingFool
3.83/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer is a nice dark brown color with a thin light tan head on top that quickly dissolves to a ring around the surface. An aroma of roasted malt and milk chocolate hovers over the beer. Each sip of this thin to medium bodied beer is mainly malty with some nuts and milk chocolate mixed in. It finishes slightly hoppy and dry with a malty taste left behind.

I found this to be a very drinkable tasty brew and only wish the malty flavor was a little bit stronger.

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Photo of Jarod
4.1/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle

This beer poured a dark caramel / wood colored that was crystal clear and decently carbonated. It produced a dark beige/tan colored head that was thick, sticky well lasting. There was some sticky / chunky lace left behind. The aromas were of toasted grains, dark malts, roasted malt, some light fruit present and hints of alcohol became as it warmed. Fresh and clean. The flavors that came through were of roasted malts, and burnt caramel, nuts (toasted), touches of coffee, earthy tones, grains (toasted), hops, sweet dark fruits, and at the end hints of alcohol. The aftertaste is of toasted grains and some sweetness. Medium bodied. Sweet, dry and complex. Great flavors of malts come out in this beer, while mixing in other flavors like hops and sweet fruit. A really good beer that as it warmed it got more complex and better.

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Photo of CharlesRiver
4.05/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer came in the Harpoon Variety 12 pack.

The first thing that I noticed about this beer is that it doesn't pour nearly as dark as I expected. I didn't expect to see all the way through it.

Poured clear brown with a small off white head. Malty smell all the way. The taste is much the same but I also pick up some smoke. Not sure where that is coming from. No hop notes anywhere that I can find. (not that it should) A bit grainy but sweet with hints of raisins.

I really enjoyed this. I would buy the mix pack again.

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Photo of edchicma
4.12/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very nice, dark appearance with a small head. Taste was a bit sweet with nice malty flavors. Medium mouthfell with a bit of a chewy quality. Goes down very smooth woith a nice malty aftertone. Smell was malty with slight alcohol shadings. Very tasty. Reminded me of Sam Adams Double Bock, but without the strong alcohol taste. A very smooth and enjoyable brew.

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Photo of BierReise
3.8/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

At the brewery: Typical looking dark german beer with a wee small tan head of foam. Aroma of roasted malt with a slight sweetness. Something was different about this beer and I found out afterwards that they ferment this as an ale instead of the traditional lager. I think this really changes the character a bit. Not as sweet as the German Dunkels in my opinion. Medium bodied and malty. Pretty decent beer that I enjoyed.

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Photo of UnionMade
3.13/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I was under the impression that this beer is actually Harpoon's Munich Dark. One of the old school bartenders at Cannon's told me this. I really don't remember Munich Dark tasting like this, though.
Arrives looking sort of an ochre brownish color, with a thick almond colored head. Nice and clear, with a semi roasty malty aroma. Some hopping is apparent, but it's mostly smelling like a brown ale, or some kind of dark ale. Flavor is malty, a little grainy, with some fruity esteriness. A touch of roasted and chocolate malt, and some plum and apple flavors. Hops lend a mild bite and dryness to the finish, very downplayed, and works well with the malting. Sort of uncomplex, simple, definitely good, but not really the most interesting beer. Flavors aren't the cleanest and don't stand out from each other. That's fine, because not all of beer's pleasures are masterpieces of a brewers art, ya know?

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Photo of bmills1608
3.9/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

The color was a dark brown/red. Fluffy, almost white head. On the nose was a lot of bready aromas, pumpernickel, sweet malt and tobacco. Taste was rich, a little chocolate malt, very smooth and creamy, slightly sweet doughy flavors. Some fruitiness comes through towards the end and a touch of roasted flavor.

The finish was a little strange I thought. A "burnt sugar", slightly astringent flavor that lingered in the back of the throat.

Overall impression - The first bottle of this I really enjoyed. By the third time I tasted (at least a week later) my overall impression has changed a bit. This is a nice brown beer, being very creamy and full flavored are it's best 2 qualities. I am not a big fan of the finish of this beer however. That being said, it is still a quality brew.

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Photo of oberon
4.2/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one poured a nice brown color with some slight red highlights in there,nice malty aroma of chocolate and some slight fruity tones as well.A very appetizing brew malty sweet with some lingering fruitiness.I think the best offering from Harpoon,very nice.

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Photo of far333
3.8/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark brown with a beige head that rises up a half inch of thick foam and sinks quickly as many small bubbles rise up from the bottom of the glass. Aroma is dark malt, molasses and brown sugar. Mouthfeel is a bit watery, but leads to a roasty malt flavor with a bit of yeast undercurrent. There's some cocoa and caramel, ripe plum and fig, and a metallic tinge in the finish.

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Photo of Thrasher
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Well my last review of Harpoon was pretty scathing, so when a (free) sample of this popped up, I was initially skeptical, and then pleasantly surprised. This, along with their Oktoberfest, is the best thing they offer (which is strange, in that it means their strong suit is brewing fake German-lager-style ales). Anyway this is a nice, roasty dark ale with definite dunkel qualities. Caramel, nuts, a vague hint of chocolate, alongside some more fruity ale characteristics. It's an unusual marriage but it just about works, especially with the additional twist of spicy hops. Those reviewers below who said to let it warm up are right on. This went nicely with ribs. I would definitely turn to this again if I was craving a German dunkel and this was all that was available. Otherwise it is a strange, but quaffable, hybrid of a dunkel and a brown ale.

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Photo of vitesse
4.25/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

served on tap at the brewery...
appearance is very nice toasty brown color, but not "muddy" at all. smell is of roasty malt goodness. taste is rich and complex. lots of attention to the malt side of things. i detected light caramel notes with slightly sweet aftertaste. very solid.
mouthfeel is good. this is a full-bodied brew. drinkability is high too. no one element seems overpowering, very balanced beer.

on a side note: this isn't a lager after all, despite the germanic name. don't let that dissuade you, though. on tap this is a great dark ale.

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Photo of maestrotmbg
4.18/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours out with a small caramel colored head that swiftly smooths out into a lasting lace. The beer is dark brown yet still semi-translucent.

Smell: Mild smell of alcohol and dark malt - not very aromatic.

Taste: The roasted malt flavor is paramount and adds to the mild sweetness of the beer to suggest a taste of caramel. Toasted grains fill out the balance of the flavor.

Mouthfeel and Drinkability: Somewhat light on the palate for such a dark beer, not creamy but not at all astringent either. I found that the body was excellent and not overpowering considering the bold nature of the taste. Very drinkable and smooth - easy going down and I hardly noticed the alcohol.

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Photo of kaszeta
3.9/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A pleasing fairly dark brown amber ale, with a light head.

It's got a very malty smell, with hints of wheat, and a bit of roasted malt coming through. Not much hops smell.

It's got a good mouthfeel, smooth and creamy. It's taste is malty, somewhat sweet in a caramel sort of way, slightly bitter, and very lightly hopped.

Very drinkable. In fact, I'd say it's one of Harpoon's best (at least for their Windsor, VT brewery), vaguely reminiscent of the Dunkels I've enjoyed on a pleasant summer evening in a Munich beer garden (which is what they appear to be trying to reproduce).

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Photo of Jason
4.03/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz brown bottle with a printed packaging date on the bottle.

Appearance: Nice lacing and good clarity off of a dark toned brown colour. Retention shows some stickiness.

Smell: Mild toasted and dark malts, faint fruitiness and alcohol. Clean aroma.

Taste & Mouthfeel: Firm and crisp mouth feel from a medium body and level carbonation. Long lasting maltiness that ranges from a plain sweetness to rolling toasted and vague roasted flavours. Balancing hop shows a little spicy flavour while at the same time the alcohol becomes slightly noticeable. Some sweetness left in the end with more toasted grain.

Drinkability & Notes: The darkest of the Harpoon brand and my favourite as well, a concrete brew in my book. A great beer to have around to drink, pair and even cook with.

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Photo of kunzbrew
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This brew pours a copper color with a head that leaves real fast, leaving a nice lace behind. The smell of caramel malts and mild hops get me really excited for the first sip. The flavor of caramel malt with lightly roasted malts remind me of a dopplebock. The earthy tone also hit the palate. This is a nice beer, and I really enjoyed it. Thanks to jebrock for the sample.


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Photo of Bierman9
4.03/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pleasing brown-mahogany color. Hard pour left a fine creamy head, dissipating to decent layer of foam, with nice lace. The nose had lots of dark, roasted malts, with some whiffs of coffee. Very acceptable mouthfeel: good body and nice over the tongue. Dark roasted malt flavors abound, with some coffee and bitterness. Hops poke their heads out a bit at the end, and in the aftertaste. Some caramel is evident as it warms. Pretty good. Why haven't I tried this before? Prosit!!

overall: 4.1
appearance: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | mouthfeel: 4 | drinkability: 4


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Photo of Todd
4.08/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12oz brown bottle with some freaky ass scary lions, harpoons, double edged battle axes, shields and Harpoon flags. Bottle states "Munch Type Dark Beer" for legal reasons.

Appearance: Burnt amber with a bubbly, chunky, semi-clingy and frothy tan head.

Smell: Fresh smelling with a toasted grain and earth aroma in the nose. Pick up some faint fruity esters too, and hidden caramel.

Taste: Upfront, this beer dries the palate a bit, semi-puckering with a salty citrus rind-like hop bite. Mouthfeel is very smooth and full, with grain, earth and dark malt flavours abound. As the beer warms, a lightly toasted, caramelly, earthy, grain sweetness emerges to quell the driness. The hops become more subtle as well. Finishes slick with some residual sweetness and driness.

Notes: This is a fantastic beer. As enjoyable as it is complex. "Dark & Delicious" as the label states. Tip: Let the beer warm a bit before drinking, for the best flavour.

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Harpoon Dark from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
3.79 out of 5 based on 694 ratings.
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